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Swine epidemic spreads to Oklahoma pork producers

Prestage Farms in the Oklahoma Panhandle has experienced significant losses since the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus, or PEDv, spread this summer.
by Jennifer Palmer Published: September 24, 2013

Stephens said since the outbreak, the Prestage facility is taking extra care cleaning the facilities and reemphasizing basic biosecurity measures. But he said it's possible that the virus is spread in the air.

“If it wasn't airborne, we have no idea how it got in,” he said.

Oklahoma has the second highest incidence of samples testing positive for the virus — 155 through Sept. 8; Iowa is the only state with more, at 181, according to a report by the USDA's National Animal Health Laboratory.

Outbreaks aren't required to be reported to federal officials so the scope of PEDv's impact is difficult to determine. Blayne Arthur, a spokeswoman for the state Agriculture Department, said it's something the agency is aware of and is concerned about, especially since hogs are one of the state's top agriculture commodities.

A USDA report that will be released Friday is expected to give a clearer picture of the virus's impact. The report, released quarterly, was last published in June and details the hog inventory as of June 1 — right as PEDv became widespread.

by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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What is it?

What is Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv)

• Affects only pigs, posing no risk to other animals or humans. It also poses no risk to food safety.

• First recognized in England in 1971; first found in the U.S. in May.

• Transmitted via the fecal-oral route, causing acute diarrhea within 12 to 36 hours of onset.

Source: National Pork Board

If it wasn't airborne, we have no idea how it got in.”

Greg Stephens,
Prestage Farms general manager

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